Payback 2017 Review

Written by: JR

Pre Show

-Gallows & Anderson vs Enzo & Cass: C

Winner: Enzo & Cass

An average pre show match that started with a terrible promo about Chinese food from Enzo and Cass. Those New Age Outlaws comparisons that we’ve heard about for so long no longer apply to this tag team. Their act has gotten stale pretty quickly and it doesn’t help that neither one of them is anything special in the ring. The Bullet Club has been up and down ever since their debut with a greater number of “down” moments. For Enzo and Cass, they shouldn’t have long promos before their match. Their schtick that they do for their intro and when they setup the “SAWFT” spelling with the crowd both are great signatures. The material done in between those 2 parts needs to be much shorter and shouldn’t rely on bad humor and/or blatant crowd pandering.  

-Miz TV segment with Finn Balor: N/A

This should have been on Raw. Finn already is over so it’s not like he needed to feed off of Miz’s heat. A pretty generic Miz TV episode.
 

Main Show

-Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens (US Title Match): B

Winner: Chris Jericho

A great match with nice storytelling from both wrestlers. Jericho working on Owens’ dominant hand was great psychology since Owens was unable to reach for the ropes when the Walls of Jericho move was applied to win the match. I was surprised at the Jericho win because it seemed like Owens’ “Face of America” angle was just getting started. Another bonus is that Smackdown has gotten ANOTHER big star since Jericho now will be a member of Smackdown.

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-Neville vs Austin Aries (Cruiserweight Title Match): B-

Winner: Austin Aries via DQ

Neville got himself DQed by grabbing the ref when Aries locked him in the Last Chancery. I know that it’s a classic heel move but it was kind of a disappointing end for a good match.

-Hardy Boyz vs Sheamus & Cesaro (Tag Team Titles Match): B-

Winner: Hardy Boyz

Decent match with some good back and forth action. Sheamus and Cesaro turned heel after the match by attacking the Hardy Boyz. This turn was a much needed personality change for the team. This also may signal the transformation of the Hardy Boyz into their “Broken” personas.

-Alexa Bliss vs Bayley (Women’s Title Match): B
Winner: Alexa Bliss

Definitely one of Bliss’ best matches on the main roster. Bliss had great heel mannerisms as always and Bayley had the extra babyface bonus of being in her hometown. However I think it’s too early for Bliss to get another Title Reign especially when she still needs to fine tune her in-ring skills. The last thing that I want is a mini Charlotte who has numerous title reigns in a short period. The inevitable feud between Sasha Banks and Bliss should be an intriguing matchup.

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-Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton (House of Horrors Match): B

Winner: Bray Wyatt

This match was way better than anyone expected. The early part of the match starts with a tractor eerily driving itself across the front lawn. As soon as I saw that happen, I knew this would be some campy 80s horror action which could be entertaining. The first portion of the match began in the house. Some of the rooms had unusual items like baby dolls being hung by strings, an empty bassinet, and many pieces of furniture covered with sheets. The first part of the match ended when Bray pushed a refrigerator onto Orton as he was laying on the ground. The refrigerator was dirty and had Wyatt’s catchphrases like “We’re Here” and “Follow the Buzzards” written on the sides. Wyatt left the house and entered the same limo that Orton used to get to the house. Wyatt then asked the driver to take him to the arena.

The second part of the match was after the Rollins-Joe match. When Wyatt arrived to the arena and made his way to the ring with his trademark entrance, Orton appeared behind Wyatt as soon as the lights came on. Of course we didn’t receive any explanation for how he was able to escape being trapped under a fridge or how he managed to get to the arena before Wyatt. Orton and Wyatt continued to brawl in the ring and later in the match the Singh brothers and Jinder Mahal attacked Orton and helped Wyatt get the win. Jinder used Orton’s WWE Title to beat him down which Jinder stole on the recent episode of Smackdown.

The entire match was pretty entertaining. The most notable example of this type of match which took place in a different setting and ended in the ring was the Hollywood Backlot Brawl between Goldust and Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania 12. As long as viewers don’t take the segment too seriously and view it as a mini throwback horror movie, it should be a fun watch.

   

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-Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe: C

Winner: Seth Rollins

Another match where Seth sells (or should I say tries to sell) a knee injury and another underwhelming match from Joe. On top of that, the match had an anticlimactic ending. Rollins’ current face run has been a disappointment and this match definitely hasn’t helped him.

 -Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns: B+

Winner: Braun Strowman

A great match with a good story. Reigns did a superb job of selling his injuries and put up a decent fight. Roman still is getting a ridiculous amount of heat from crowds. Allegedly it was so bad that the crowd mics were muted during his entrance. Even after putting him in a sympathetic underdog role the crowd still hated him throughout the match. I’m not sure what it will take for management to stop pushing Reigns as a top face. Strowman gave a beatdown after the match and the crowd was cheering for Strowman, The crowd chanted “Thank You Strowman” and “You Deserve It”. The ruthlessness from the crowds over the weeks has been somewhat disturbing. A simple heel turn probably won’t be enough to save Roman’s character. Based on the stubbornness of Vince McMahon and the creative team, a heel turn is a distant possibility and probably isn’t even an option for consideration. Strowman’s strong booking puts him in optimal position to be the next Universal Champion and defeat Brock Lesnar. I hope that will be the plan for the next Raw PPV.

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Overall Grade: B

A surprisingly good show. I would have given a higher grade if the World Title was defended but almost every match on the main card was entertaining. Definitely the best Raw PPV of the year so far. I highly recommend the House of Horrors match just for the absurdity and the sometimes comical elements of the match. I also recommend Strowman vs Reigns, Bliss vs Bayley, and Jericho vs Owens.

Author: FTESWL

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